Phillips immediately became a fixture in the lineup as he appeared in 149 games during his debut season in Cincy, which he posted a .276 average, 17 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 75 RBI. The Stone Mountain, Ga. native built upon that success in 2007 when he recorded arguably the best season of his career. Phillips, known as @DatDudeBP on Twitter, batted .288 with 94 RBI, 32 stolen bases, and 30 home runs. He became a member of the elite 30/30 club that year joining the likes of his childhood idol and former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.
Fast forward to 2013, and Phillips still remains as one of the key pieces on the roster. The 31-year-old has helped guide the Reds to two division crowns while garnering three Gold Glove Awards, two All-Star nods, and one Silver Slugger Award along the way.
For years, Phillips was incensed by the way the Indians let him go so easily for a player who no longer plays in the league. However, the fan favorite recently revealed to legendary sports writer Hal McCoy that he no longer harbors ill feelings toward the franchise which drafted and traded him.
“Do I hate anybody? Not now. I don’t hate nobody,” he said. “Hate is a strong word. From the bad things they told me about myself, yes, I hated at the time. But I walked away from that and went home to Stone Mountain, Ga. and said, ‘You know what, I’m going to change this hatred into motivation. And that’s what made me grow up, right there. You can’t live your life with hatred in your heart.”
Phillips called the trade a "blessing in disguise" and even offered a word of thanks to Cleveland for helping pave the way to a successful career in Cincinnati.
Phillips admitted there was one person with the Indians that he wasn't too fond of and it was former manager Eric Wedge, who now manages the Seattle Mariners.
“People always have to do what they need to do to cover their own butts,” said Phillips. “When a team is going bad, somebody has to be a scapegoat. It was a learning experience for me and everything that happens happens for a reason and it made me a stronger person and gave me a second chance with another organization to show my talent.”
The defensive wizard said he didn't like how the coaches allegedly chose the players they liked rather than putting the best team on the field.
That’s the thing about baseball. It isn’t all about putting the best team on the field, it is all about who the manager and general manager and organization likes. That’s the problem with teams these days.
“Instead of putting their best teams on the field, they keep who they like and who they want on the field,” Phillips added. “It is guys they respect as a person and they are good friends, but they may not be the best players."
Phillips concluded the interview by expressing his appreciation for the city which he has blossomed.
“Never been any hate involved here,” said Phillips. “I love it here — love the city, love the fans, love the team. I want to finish my career here.”
Via FOX Sports